As another brutal Michigan winter approaches, many vulnerable families in Macomb County may be worried about the added expenses that come along with the cold and snow, which may be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Busted water lines, heating issues and car maintenance can all put a big dent in an already tight family budget, but they’re all problems that Macomb Community Action can help low-income families tackle.
What is Macomb Community Action?
Macomb Community Action is just one agency in a national network of Community Action Agencies that aim to provide comprehensive educational, economic and social services to low-income residents in the community in which they serve.
“Community Action Agencies (like Macomb Community Action) are part of a national movement,” says Ernest Cawvey, the director for Macomb Community Action. “These agencies were founded during the War on Poverty in the ’60s, so that no matter where you’re at, you can reach out and receive support.”
Macomb Community Action’s services can be especially important during the winter months when those unexpected bills pop up, but the services go beyond that.
In fact, according to Cawvey, if there’s something a resident needs but can’t afford, chances are good that Macomb Community Action can either help directly or put the resident in contact with an organization that can.
“If your heat goes out, we can replace your furnace; if you have lead in your pipes, we can test your water; if you have mold, we can get someone out to clean it up. We can do plumbing, we can do electric and we can work with utility companies to stop shut-off notices and pay off arrearages,” he explains. “Basically, when a resident is in crisis, Macomb Community Action can always connect people to needed supports.”
And it doesn’t stop with home repair or financial support either. Macomb Community Action partners with more than 70 food pantries in the county to ensure families have enough to eat.
It can also get ramps installed for those with physical disabilities, connect families of young kids with local head start programs to help support the child’s education and provide transportation through its partnership with the SMART transportation authority.
“We are charged with caring for the most vulnerable people in our community,” Cawvey adds. “Macomb Community Action works with a range of community partners to ensure that those most vulnerable to hardship are prioritized in our service delivery.”
How to utilize these services
All services through Macomb Community Action are free of charge to residents who qualify.
Each program has a little different criteria for eligibility, so those interested in receiving services should simply reach out by calling 586-469-6999 directly or 211, which will connect you with social services.
Cawvey also encourages everyone to spread the word about the services offered by Macomb Community Action because you never know who is struggling — and at the end of the day, supporting our most vulnerable has a benefit for the entire community.
“These services don’t just benefit low-income families. All of us can experience hardship and it only takes one day, one accident, to face a crisis,” he says. “We’re more prosperous together when we have services for our low-income residents when they need it… (and) it’s extra important for everyone to know Macomb Community Action is free of stigma and here to help.”
To find support through Macomb Community Action, visit it online at mca.macombgov.org.